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Thankful art on display at St. Francois Manor

FARMINGTON – There are 444 extra reasons for people who live in St. Francois Manor to smile this Thanksgiving. That’s how many students drew pictures for the residents to enjoy during the holiday season. That was enough to put a picture on every door in every hall and every room. There are pictures around the nurse’s station, pictures in the lobby, pictures in groups, pictures alone, pictures in color and pictures in black and white.

“The residents just love looking at them,” said Claire Wroblewski, activities director. “I think this brings them back to being home and sticking their own kids pictures on the refrigerator. This has transformed our home into one big refrigerator.”

Wroblewski contacted Farmington schools for first through eighth grades and each of them sent pictures. Artists on display are from Washington-Franklin, Jefferson and Roosevelt Elementary Schools, along with Lincoln Intermediate and Farmington Middle School.

They drew pictures of family, friends, pets, toys, school, earth, the president, food, earth and even one Great Grandpa. Most of them didn’t sign their names, but some did write messages of explanation.

“I am thankful for my baby brother.”

Shawn Gainer drew a picture of himself graduating from Farmington High School in 2009 as a way to show what he’d be thankful for one of these days.

“I am thankful for the American flag.”

“I am thankful for skateboards because it gives us boys something to do,” wrote a boy named Quinton.

“I love the spelling, said Wroblewski, pausing to read the explanation on a drawing of “poder sugar” and “Hursy’s” by an artist named Adam.

One artist wrote about being thankful for friends, a dog, a hamster and a mom and dad. Another drew a picture of a colorful T-shirt and expressed thanks. Another wrote, “I am thankful for my life.”

Harry LaBruiere would agree. He lives at St. Francois and as he looked at the drawings he said, “I’m just thankful I’m still here.”

Residents and staff alike often pause as they pass the drawings to comment on them or read the artist’s writing outside. Jerica Plummer writes, “Let’s Do the Do! Let God be with you.”

“Each one of these is like a hug for the residents,” said Wroblewski. “Their art work is saying ‘I wish you a happy holiday and I remember you.'”

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